USC University of Southern California

Building Capacity and Welcoming Practices In Military-Connected Schools

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Consortium Districts Set to Welcome Newcomers with Student 2 Student Programs

As As part of the new Welcoming Practices grant, four Consortium districts have been participating in training sessions over the past few months to implement Student 2 Student (S2S). A program of the Military Child Education Coalition, the S2S high school program trains both civilian and military students to develop and maintain programs to support students when they are moving between schools. The Oceanside Unified School District (OUSD) and the Temecula Valley Unified School District (TVUSD) are implementing S2S. Teams from the Bonsall Union School District (BUSD) and OUSD are implementing Junior S2S for middle school students, and the Chula Vista Elementary School District (CVESD), BUSD and TVUSD are beginning a new Elementary S2S version, which is led by school staff members. Click here to read our May newsletter story on the training sessions.

Development Under Way for Welcoming Practices App And Website

Using technology to smooth the school transition process for families is a major component of the new Welcoming Practices partnership grant to USC and a Consortium of five school districts. And developing that technology has become a widespread, cooperative effort that is involving multiple partners across Southern California. The Welcoming Practices team in the School of Social Work is collaborating with web and mobile app design experts in the Viterbi School of Engineering to develop both an online student enrollment system as well as an app that will provide families with the resources their students need to successfully transition between schools.Transition teams in the Consortium districts are also actively participating by collaborating on the website and app design as well as helping to provide links to resources that will be available from the app. Read the rest of the story in our March newsletter.

Dr. Ron Astor on CBS Sunday Morning

Dr. Ron Astor appeared on CBS Sunday Morning this week as part of a feature on the mental health needs of military and veterans' children. He stressed that it is important for the children of veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to have support services. Watch the program here. Links to resources are available at the end of the story.

Los Angeles Unified To Ask Families about Military Connection

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) will begin identifying children of active duty military and veteran families this fall in an effort to ensure that military-connected students receive the services and support they need. The district has added a box for military parents to check on their child's Student Emergency Information Form. The question asks whether a parent is on active duty, a veteran or a member of the National Guard or reserves. The form also asks in which branch the parent serves and whether he or she is currently deployed. Asking for this information is a major step toward raising more awareness of military students among educators in the second largest school district in the country, with over 700,000 students. This step also serves as an example to other large school districts in the nation. LAUSD is the first large urban school district to ask for both military and veteran status. Read the rest of the story in our March newsletter.

Building Capacity in Action

Schools are using a variety of practices to support military-connected students and their families. The videos below are educating public schools on promising strategies and programs that support military-connected students. The videos were created as part of a joint collaborative effort between Building Capacity, the Consortium of eight military-connected school districts and Command Media, a wounded warrior organization. These three-to-five minute videos encourage other schools to implement programs that assist military families through transitions, deployments and other challenges.
We have included the following videos addressing the various topics that are important to military families. Click on the title of each video to find out more and view the full video gallery here.
Children of the Deployed

Connection Corners-Dewey

Friendship Garden

San Onofre-Valentine's Day

Jefferson: Recognizing the Military Student

Temecula Military Appreciation Day Celebration

Partners at Learning (PAL)

Families OverComing Under Stress

Eagle's Nest

Free Resource Guides Now Available

For a limited time only, our four resource guides on supporting military children in public schools are now available for free from Teachers College Press at Columbia University. Each guide is based on research and written specifically for teachers, school administrators, pupil personnel, and parents. The books have been endorsed by the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the Military Child Education Coalition and leading experts in education, social work, and psychology. Each guide can be used as a text in university and school district training programs and outlines how school professionals and parents can create a supportive school setting that helps military children thrive.


The books focus on practical strategies that can be implemented to make students feel welcome and connected. Educators, school districts, universities, and school liaison officers are already using many of the strategies highlighted to create supportive school settings for military children.

Follow this link to view ordering information for all four guides. For a detailed description of each guide, follow this link.

Building Capacity is a partnership between eight military-connected school districts and USC. Funded by a grant from the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), the project is creating sustainable and replicable infrastructures for data-driven models of responsive and supportive schools. Staff, students, and parents are being empowered to use evidence to improve school climate for military students.


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